PUL URGES RESPONSIBLE MEDIA COVERAGE AND PROTECTION OF JOURNALISTS DURING ELECTION PERIOD

Date:

MONROVIA – In honor of the anniversary of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), the Union earnestly urges media professionals, encompassing broadcasters, print and online practitioners, and freelancers, to cover the forthcoming October 2023 elections with objectivity and impartiality.

In an official statement marking this occasion, the PUL calls upon political parties, stakeholders, and the government to ensure the safety and security of journalists and media personnel throughout the electoral process. The Union underscores the concerning fact that, in September alone, the PUL’s Media Alert Desk documented eight threats, two attacks, and numerous ethical violations. These transgressions involve individuals making unfounded claims and affiliating themselves with political factions, thus leaving journalists susceptible to attacks and threats from political extremists.

Despite the ongoing leadership crisis within the Union, the current leadership of the Press Union of Liberia remains steadfast in fulfilling its primary mandate through the Media Alert Desk. This desk addresses threats, attacks, and ethical violations during the election process. As part of this initiative, the Union diligently analyzes emerging patterns of these threats and attacks against the journalism community in Liberia for public awareness.

Additionally, the PUL is actively engaged in mediating journalism-related issues through the National Media Council (NMC), its self-regulatory body. The NMC is handling election-related journalism matters and resolving issues related to journalists’ safety in accordance with the Code of Conduct for Liberian Journalists.

Furthermore, the Press Union of Liberia implores all parties embroiled in the Union’s ongoing leadership conflict to await the court’s verdict from the litigation before the full bench of the Supreme Court of Liberia.

The Union vehemently denies allegations of embezzling a $40,000 donation, dismissing these claims as malicious and baseless slander against past and present PUL leaders.

Claims made by Team Kanubah regarding government donations and other contributions have been unequivocally refuted by the Press Union of Liberia. The Union asserts that all donations received were meticulously documented and allocated for specific purposes, including funding celebrations of World Press Freedom Day and anniversaries, as well as supporting administrative functions at the headquarters, such as rental payments.

The PUL underscores that accountability is paramount, emphasizing that a comprehensive report was presented at the last Congress of the Press Union. This report was rigorously reviewed and adopted by the Union’s highest decision-making body, guiding future administrations in compliance with Article 7, Section 10 of the PUL Constitution.

It is deeply disconcerting that Team Kanubah, having chosen not to authenticate the Union’s Voters’ Roll within the thirty-day window before polling, is now presenting a wholly misleading account of the situation, misaligned with the facts of the case at the PUL. Under Raymond Zarbey’s leadership, Team Kanubah opted to forsake the process of identifying potentially fraudulent names on the voters’ roll, instead accusing the Election Committee of bias.

Moreover, the Union emphasizes that Team Kanubah’s recent outburst reflects their frustration after employing tactics to undermine the operation of the PUL. It is imperative to note that the Press Union of Liberia will persist in its role as the legitimate umbrella organization for journalists, advocating for the protection of all journalists, especially during these pivotal elections. Naysayers, like Team Kanubah, are merely attempting to obstruct the crucial work the Union is conducting for the advancement of Liberia’s democracy.

Furthermore, the Press Union of Liberia has highlighted the challenges in preserving democratic institutions, emphasizing the collective responsibility to safeguard the Union’s core principles. A fundamental aspect of the Press Union’s mandate lies in the significance of upholding free, fair, transparent, and verifiable elections, regardless of the outcome.

The Union stresses the importance of gracefully accepting electoral results, promoting unity, and democratic governance as indicators of a thriving society in the country which Team Kanubah has failed to meet.

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